Human rights activists and intellectuals on Monday expressed concern over arrest of son of Dandapani Mohanty, one of the interlocutors in the talks between the Odisha government and the Maoists, and killing of five persons in alleged police encounter at Bhaliaguda in Gajapati district.

A rights group comprising B. D. Sharma, an interlocutor in the Italian national abduction case, Bhabani Charan Patnaik, freedom fighter, and Narendra Mohanty, convener of the Campaign Against Fabrication of False Cases (CAFC), met Home Secretary Upendra Nath Behera and demanded an independent inquiry into the arrest and police encounter cases.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Patnaik said the State government should depute a top executive, who would be nodal person, to keep the channel open for talks with the CPI (Maoist). They expressed concerns over arrest of Sangram Mohanty, son of Dandapani Mohanty.

Mr. Sharma, on the sidelines of a press conference, said “both government and Maoist do not want to keep a relation.”

“We are deeply concerned at the recent rising trend of State violence on ordinary citizens in the name of containing Maoist activities. The recent killing of five innocent Adivasis and dalits in Gajapati district and the arrest of Sangram Mohanty and Kailash Mondal - all these raise serious questions regarding the very intention of the State,” said rights activists Biswapriya Kanungo, Pramodini Pradhan and Prafulla Samantra, in a statement. 

“The above incidents are not isolated ones, rather indicative of a trend in which picking up ordinary people in the name of Maoists, illegal detention and torture in police custody, even custodial deaths, have become a routine matter.  This process has intensified since the beginning of the Operation Green Hunt.  As a result, more than 600 people, mostly Adivasis, are languishing in jail, being implicated in draconian provisions of Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act,” they alleged. 

Activists demanded an independent inquiry into the Bhaliaguda encounter and compensation for the victims’ families and also review of all the cases in which people had been kept in jail on allegations of Maoist activities.

Rights activists all along had been alleging that those, who were killed in police encounter with left wing extremists at Bhaliaguda in Gajapati district recently on November 14 last, were innocent tribals and dalits.

  • State should depute a top executive to keep the channel open for talks, says freedom-fighter

  • Independent inquiry into the arrest of Dandapani son and police encounter cases sought